'What's the Trick to Building Trust With Social Media Followers?'

In her column for 'Entrepreneur,' Brit+Co founder Brit Morin advises on the five types of value people get from social media content, and why sometimes it's better to focus on one social media platform than splitting your time between a few.
'What's the Trick to Building Trust With Social Media Followers?'
Image credit: Brit+Co

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Founder and CEO of Brit + Co
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Brit Morin was 25 when she left Google to start Brit + Co, a lifestyle and education company aimed at helping women cultivate creative confidence. Now — 10 years, $50 million in funding and 1.2 billion pageviews later — Brit’s passion is empowering more women to take the entrepreneurial leap. She’s a managing partner at VC fund Offline Ventures, host of iHeartRadio podcast Teach Me Something New, creator of Selfmade, a 10-week start your own business course for women founders, and most recently — Entrepreneur advice columnist. Find her here twice a month on Thursdays, answering the most personal and pressing questions of women entrepreneurs.

Have a question for Brit? Email it to Dearbrit@brit.co and she could answer it in an upcoming column!

I don't want no (social media) scrub

Dear Brit: I know it’s important to build a strong social following around my brand. How do I build this community?

Many people think that it takes tens or hundreds of thousands of followers to have a successful social media and online presence. But in reality, even 100 followers can be a powerful community, especially if they’re engaged. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have 100 buyers of my product than 100 likes on an Instagram post from 10,000 followers. So the next obvious question is, “How do I get started building my list of 100 engaged followers?”

The answer sounds simple, because it is: Provide value to them. The trick to building a community is making it valuable. Our time is more expensive than ever these days since there are a million things competing for our attention. So here are five ways that my favorite online communities provide me value for my time: 

1) Knowledge: They teach me new skills

2) Curation: They save me time, and inspire me

3) Entertainment: They make me laugh

4) Relationships: They help me find others like me

5) Deals: They save me money

Which one of those categories does your business fall within? It may be all of them! Now, how can you start creating content (social, email, blog, etc) for your community that activates those reward centers? You might be thinking, “But Brit, how does doing this convince them to buy my product or service?” 

Related: Dear Brit: Should I Name My Company After Myself?

Bottom line: The key to marketing is trust. These people are building their trust in you. They want to stay engaged because you are providing them value. And this is why they will convert for you. If you are authentically serving your community day-to-day, then it’s not off-base to market your product or service to them every few posts/days as well. The best marketers know how to do this in a way that doesn’t even feel like a sell AND also rewards the same brain neurons that your non-sales content offers. Try it for yourself sometime and let me know how it works for you.

There’s no shame in being a one platform kind of brand

Dear Brit: How do I know which social media platforms are worth being on? There are so many and my time is already stretched thin!

I feel you! The world wide web is a complex thing these days, and when you are a one-person show (or a small startup team), it can be difficult to manage too many platforms. I suggest choosing ONE to start. First, figure out your target audience and where they spend their time. If it’s a professional community, it may be LinkedIn. If it’s mainstream millennials, it’s probably Instagram. If it’s engineers, maybe it’s Reddit. If it’s teens, it’s TikTok. For many people, it’s email! And for some, it’s even SMS/text message. Pick one and start there. Build content daily for that community and keep them engaged using the tactics I laid out above. You’ll be shocked at how much you can streamline your process if you aren’t splitting your attention and energy between platforms. Tools like Planoly and Hootsuite (or Mailchimp for email) enable you to schedule content in advance, so that it can all be automated. Set it and forget it! Just don’t forget to jump into the comments and dms — that is pure community love that you need to be giving daily!

Related: Dear Brit: 'How Do I Find Customers Who Will Spend Lots of Money and Gush About Me to Their Friends?'

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